How filmmaker Dylan Reibling teamed up with former detective Dave Perry to solve a cold case

By Dylan Reibling, Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 9 PM on FIRSTHAND CBC-TV www.cbc.ca/

On April 3, 2002, the Toronto Police were called in to investigate a strange smell coming from the apartment of computer salesman Michael De Bourcier. They knocked on his door and called his phone, but received no response. They were issued a warrant to investigate and gained entry to the apartment. There they discovered Michael's body - dead from what appeared to be a heart attack. At 35 years old, Michael was not the typical profile of a heart attack victim. The police took note - more investigation might be needed.

Filmmaker Dylan Reibling

 

 

The police searched through Michael's wallet for identification. There, they found a laminated card instructing them to call a phone number in the case of Michael's death. They called the number and found themselves speaking to a funeral company. They were told that Michael had pre-paid his own burial exactly one week before he died. The police immediately classified the case as suspicious.

Searching through Michael's personal documents, the police discovered that they were unable to track down any of Michael's next of kin. The names and phone numbers of family members listed on his official identification lead to dead ends or disconnected numbers. As they dug deeper into the files, they realized that they couldn't trace any piece of identification back further than the year 2000. It was becoming clear that "Michael De Bourcier" was a fake identity.

After months of investigation, the police detectives were unable to solve the mystery of Michael's true identity. Since 2002, it has remained unsolved - sitting as a cold case in the Toronto Police case files. The case of Michael De Bourcier has been forgotten by everyone. Everyone except filmmaker Dylan Reibling.

Dylan was friends with Mike. The two of them began working together at a small internet startup in 2000. They struck up a friendship quickly, bonding over their similar backgrounds as small-town boys living in a big city. When the police called Dylan up to break the news of Mike's death, no one was more shocked to discover that Mike had been living under a fake identity. Dylan compiled as much information for the police as possible to help them find Mike's real identity - but their search turned up nothing. For months, Dylan grappled with the sudden loss of his friends as well as his feelings of betrayal at his friend's deception. Gradually, Dylan was able to come to terms with Mike's deception and put his memory to rest. At least for a while.

Ten years later, the memory of Mike found its way back into Dylan's life. Going through some old boxes in 2012, Dylan came across the file he had compiled on Michael De Bourcier. All of his memories of Mike came flooding back. He checked in with the police and discovered that the police detective in charge of Mike's case had retired and Mike's file had been abandoned, still unsolved. Having spent the last decade working as a documentary filmmaker, Dylan felt he now had some of the resources and skills needed to pursue the truth.

  Detective Dave Perry

Looking for Mike catches up with Dylan and his investigation into his friend's true identity. Dylan hires private investigator Dave Perry to help him take the case to the next level. Dave is a retired Toronto Police homicide detective with a formidable record of high profile cases with the Toronto Police. Looking For Mike explores the nature of appearances and what it means to really know someone.

The shocking revelations that came out after Mike's death had a devastating impact on those around him. His friends and co-workers began second-guessing themselves – parsing through every little detail they knew about Mike and trying to figure out who “Michael De Bourcier” really was. Friends With Mike follows Dylan as he pieces together a portrait of a man who didn't want to be known.